Rights group records 40 violations in Papua in 2020 – cases every month

Jakarta Post
A member of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) holds a Morning Star flag as he stands in front of dozens of police officers during a rally at the State Palace in Central Jakarta. Image: Dhoni Setiawan/Jakarta Post

By Nicholas Ryan Aditya in Jakarta

Indonesia’s Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has found 40 incidents of human rights violations in Papua between January and November 2020, a new report says.

The report by Kontras researcher Arif Nur Fikri was released yesterday to commemorate International Human Rights Day.

“Kontras recorded that throughout almost all of 2020, there was at least one incidence of violence every month which befell the Papuan people”, said Fikri during an event held virtually along with media.

Fikri said that these 40 cases were dominated by cases of violence in the form of shootings, abuses and arbitrary arrests by security forces.

Kontras documented that these 40 cases involved at least 276 people who were victims of arrest, were wounded or died.

“In general the victims were civilians. And this continues repeatedly every year,” he said.

Because of this, he believes that the militaristic approach by the government has been “ineffective” in dealing with violence in Papua.

Urgent reevaluation needed
According to Fikri, urgent reevaluation was needed by the government and the House of Representatives (DPR).

“Because so far there has not been any evaluation from the military actors related to human rights violations in Papua,” he said.

In addition to this, Fikri also said that the figures or total number of incidences of violence in Papua have not been accompanied by transparency which should guarantee accountability.

He gave as an example when the government blocked the internet in response to the riots in Papua in late August and early September 2019.

This incident began with a racist attack on students in Surabaya, East Java, in August 2019. This was responded to by demonstrations in several parts of the land of Cendrawasih, as Papua is known.

The government responded to the massive demonstrations in Papua by blocking or throttling the internet connection in Papua.

As has been reported, the Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN) also declared that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the Information and Communications Ministry were guilty of wrongdoing in the case.

“This is homework for the government and we always remind the government to think about the levels of violence in Papua which in the future [they] should at least minimise this figure,” said Fikri.

Based on its records, in January 2020 there were five cases of human rights violations in Papua, three in February, two in March, three in April, four in May, two in June, four in July, four in August, six in September, two in October and five cases in November.

Translated by James Balowski of IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Total 40 Pelanggaran HAM di Papua Sepanjang 2020, Kontras: Setiap Bulan Pasti Ada Kasus“.


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